Time Ecology - Traffic Video




-for Mac users click to watch Quicktime version  

Time ecology - the entire set of timing relationships within and between entities and their environments.

This is not about just the time of the clock and calendar (eotemporal or Newtonian time), but also the time of cultures and civilizations (sociotemporal), the time of biological cycles and activities (biotemporal), and the time it takes to think and understand (nootemporal). (There are other kinds of time too, but these are the most relevant to our work in public polcy.)

A social process like driving an automobile, is embedded in a complicated set of relationships that time out how cars move in relationship to each other. The rules of traffic management continuously organize and reorganize the patterning of various elements—roads, people, stop-lights and other smart sensors—according to set rules that affect all components from top to bottom.

A driver masters and controls his timing – intellectual and biological -- to work with the physics of steering, accelerating and braking. The result is a more-or-less orderly range of continuous, pulsing, and suddenly changing movements.

The regulated pattern is easily upset by a malfunctioning stop light, an impaired driver, or a slow pedestrian. Small perturbations can have a big effect so good social policy tries to anticipate all conditions.

The smooth movement of traffic is a good visual example of a time ecology in motion.

Driving is an example of Chronocomplexity™ because small changes in any component can affect rates of flow, feeding forward or back, creating very large changes in the heterochronic pattern of the entire time ecology.

The rhythms of all other human endeavors -- business, education, arts and leisure -- are also caused by the interaction of multiple components, and one of the most important components is regulatory intervention.

-Video courtesy of Dr. Paul Wohlmuth, Professor of Law and Director, Institute for Law and System Research.

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